FWPS Helps Students Develop Critical STEM Skills
The knowledge and practical use of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills by students is critical to achieving success in our current world and will become even more important in the years to come.
This success is not confined only to students wanting to become a scientist, software engineer, or enter the medical field. The use and need of STEM skills have directly or indirectly seeped into every industry – these problem-solving skills promote innovation and have become a standard requirement for many careers today.
For this reason, FWPS continues to seek new ways to immerse scholars in STEM by adding new courses, programs, and clubs to support STEM exploration and learning. Even more, FWPS works to help students understand how STEM is used every day, and how they can take an idea, and transform it from imagination to innovation.
Here are some ways FWPS supports STEM exploration and skill-building among students:
STEM Exploration Night
FWPS hosts an annual STEM Exploration Night for students of all ages to explore STEM. This district-wide event has been a valuable launching point for thousands of scholars to learn about various STEM-related jobs and opportunities in Washington State and beyond. At the event, students and families can explore booths hosted by local companies and schools, engage in hands-on, interactive activities and workshops, hear from industry professionals by attending panel discussions, and so much more. One of the best things about the event is seeing students expand their ideas about STEM. All industries are represented, from environmental science to construction to cosmetology, and more! Plus, there is free food, transportation, interpreter services, and prizes.
This year’s event is on Thursday, March 14, from 6-8 p.m. at Federal Way High School. Learn more at www.fwps.org/stemnight
Computer Science Week and Hour of Code
Each year during December, FWPS participates in Computer Science Week by offering computer science-related activities and learning at every school. The activities include Hour of Code, a dedicated time for students to learn about programming, which serves as a great introduction to coding for all ages.
Project Lead the Way
In 2022, FWPS expanded Project Lead the Way (PLTW) programs to every school. Middle and high school students have had access to PLTW for several years, taking courses like Principles of Biomedical Science and Aerospace Engineering to get hands-on STEM learning experiences. With last year’s expansion of the program to second and third-grade, elementary students are being introduced to computational thinking and computer science as exciting STEM units of study.
School Gardening and Native Education
Plant education occurs at many of our schools through on-site gardens and our Native Education program. Students learn about indigenous plants, gardening basics, and more. These are great ways for students to learn about the local environment, the science behind gardening, and develop a passion for horticulture.
STEM Clubs (Sphero Robotics, First LEGO League, Computer Programming, etc.)
- Students can participate in STEM clubs at their school. Some clubs offered include:
Coding and Innovation which focuses on Sphero robotics and computer science
LEGO Robotics and Innovation which ties innovative solutions to LEGO robotics challenges
First Robotics Competition which brings high-level robotics programming into our high schools
Contact your child’s school to learn more about the STEM clubs.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) Courses
CTE courses, offered in middle and high school, provide students with a great way to learn more about their career interests. Through real-world application of content, students feel more connected to their learning, and better prepared to continue their study in college or enter directly into a career. CTE courses are organized by six unique Programs of Study at the high school level, and many courses offer dual credit for college. Learn more about CTE at www.fwps.org/CTE.
Classroom STEM and Project-Based Learning Integration
FWPS encourages the implementation of STEM principles in every classroom and throughout school projects. Teachers are provided with professional development on how to develop cross-disciplinary learning opportunities that push scholars' thinking around the interactions between STEM subjects to solve real-world problems. In addition, each classroom is equipped with educational technology including smartboard presentation stations, and each student is provided with a 1:1 laptop to use each day.
These are just a few ways FWPS works to expose students to STEM. Contact your child's school to learn about STEM opportunities offered at their school.